Seven-card stud, also known as Seven-Toed Pete or Down-The-River is a variant of stud poker. Until the recent increase in popularity of Texas hold 'em, seven-card stud was the most widely played poker variant in home games across the United States, and in casinos in the eastern part of the country. Two to eight players is common, though eight may require special rules for the last cards dealt if no players fold. With experienced players who fold often, even playing with nine players is possible.
In casino play, it is common to use a small ante and bring-in. In home games, it is typical to use an ante only.
How to play Seven Card Stud
Dealing and Betting
The sequence of events is as follows (as usual the cards are dealt clockwise one at a time):
1. All players place an ante in the pot.
2. Each player is dealt two cards face down and one face up. There is a betting round (third street).
3. Each player is dealt a fourth card face up. There is a second betting round (fourth street).
4. Each player is dealt a fifth card face up. There is a third betting round (fifth street).
5. Each player is dealt a sixth card face up. There is a fourth betting round (sixth street).
6. Each player is dealt one final card face down. There is a fifth betting round (seventh street).
7. Surviving players have four face up and three face down cards. They show their cards and whoever can make the best five-card hand from their seven cards wins the pot.
The concealed cards - the first, second and seventh card dealt to each player - are sometimes known as "hole" cards.
Running Out of Cards
Seven cards to eight players plus four burn cards makes 60 cards, and there are only 52 in the deck. In most games this is not a problem because several players will have folded in early betting rounds. If the deck does become exhausted during play, previously-dealt burn cards can be used when only a few cards are needed to complete the deal. If even those are not sufficient, then on the final round instead of dealing a downcard to each player, a single community card is dealt to the center of the table, and is shared by everyone. Discarded cards from a folded hand are not reused.
The winner is determined using the standard hand ranking system for high poker variations. Once all the betting is done, all players still active in the pot will turn over all of their cards, and the highest possible combination wins.
It is important to note that suits are only used to resolve bring-in ties in 7 Card Stud poker. If two players have a Queen-high flush at a showdown, for example, they’ll split the pot.
A flush in poker of clubs is just as strong as a flush in spades. This applies to all other hand combos as well.
Seven Card Stud High-Low
The deal and betting are mostly the same as in ordinary seven card stud. Some play that in high-low games, a pair showing does not give players the option of a big bet or raise.
At the showdown, each player selects five cards to make a high hand and five possibly different cards to make a low hand. The pot is split equally between the highest and lowest hands, the odd chip going to the high hand if the amount cannot be divided exactly by two. Any of the possible low hand ranking methods can be used - see low hand ranking on the poker hand ranking page.
Since different selections of cards can be used for the high and low hands, it is entirely possible for one player to win both halves of the pot.
In formal games, the rule is that "the cards speak for themselves". That is - at the showdown each player is entitled to compete with the highest and lowest hand that can be made from his or her seven cards, even if the player does not correctly identify the best selections of five cards.
“Razz” is version of Ace to Five Lowball Poker that uses the same format as 7 Card Stud. The goal of Razz is to make the best five card low hand out of the seven cards dealt. With Razz being A-5 lowball the best possible hand is A-2-3-4-5, as neither straights nor flushes count against the hand. Razz has a long history, having been offered at the WSOP since 1973 in an event won by Sam Angel, and it is part of the mixed game H.O.R.S.E where the R stands for Razz.
1. "Down the River" is the basic variation of 7 Card Stud Poker and this is the game played in poker rooms.
2. "Mississippi" removes the betting round between fourth and fifth streets, making only four betting rounds. This game also deals the fourth and fifth cards face up. This makes the game more closely resemble Texas Hold'em by having the same betting structure and the same number of down and up cards.
3. Another is "roll your own", in which four rounds of two cards each are dealt down, and each player must "roll" one card to face up, followed by a round of betting. Except for the first round, the card rolled may or may not be from the round just dealt.
4. "Queens and after": in this variant, all Queens are wild, and so is whatever card that is dealt face up that follows the Queen. All cards of that kind are now wild, both showing and in the hole. The fun part is that if another Queen is dealt face-up, the wild card will change to whatever follows this Queen. The former card is no longer wild.
5. "Baseball": in this variant 3s and 9s are wild, and a 4 dealt face up gets an extra card.
6. "Low Chicago": Low spade in the hole gets half the pot. Similarly, "High Chicago" means high spade instead of low. Just "Chicago" can mean either.
7. "Acey Ducey": aces and twos are wild.
8. “One-eyed Jacks” or “Suicide King” can be specified as wild.